I strongly disagree with the position of Wood River Economic Partnership regarding the Ketchum Market.
It is very important to deviate from the comprehensive plan when you are trying to lure new employers to Ketchum. Forty full-time jobs, and how many for the minimum of nine months to build the next-generation Ketchum Market? Is someone starting to build a new hotel in Ketchum that will increase employment? Next year, or the year after—haven't heard that exciting news yet? And who would be dumb enough to build a hotel in Blaine County, if they could get financing, if they see we can't even approve a new grocery store?
What could be worse in the economic core, more vacant stores? Parking spaces have been eliminated to the detriment of existing businesses. I have forgone shopping in the core many times—no parking spots. The Ketchum Market will relieve the parking issue around the commercial core. Many customers will walk from their nearby condos and homes.
The unfair advantage to Valmark is that Atkinsons' was founded in 1956 and is probably debt free. What has Atkinsons' done for its customer base? We drive to Costco/Albertsons as much as we can to save money, and do other shopping that is not now, nor ever will be, in Blaine County.
It is fair to benefit the local population at the expense of the other property owners. It will bring a new pharmacy, maybe a bank branch or a least an ATM. It will have adequate warehouse space, parking and wider aisles than the outdated older store. Cleaning and stocking can be done after hours, leading to less congestion.
We need jobs and competition, not more delays to growth that have occurred here in the past. We like a positive response.